Price paid: $ 1100
Purchased from: Drum City Music
Sound — 10
As I have said in other reviews for this guitar it is terribly versatile. It can do it all from warm or bright clean to crushing saturation and everything in between. I actually love playing it through an old tube screamer and my Mesa Lonestar with the neck '59 and the treble pinched a bit with a BBE Sonic Stomp to get get a great blues rock tone. Here's the gig with this guitar though... It's made for mods. Mark plays one with Phat Cats in it. Bitchin. P90s rock. Others have mentioned the Breeds as well. Great pickups. There is also plenty of room for a Sustainer and its requisite components. Plenty of wiring tricks to be had as well given the two/two layout. Can anybody say "Jimmy Page wiring mod"?
Overall Impression — 10
I play anything that grabs my interest... Metal to chicken picking. Jazz to ambient music. This guitar is well-suited for any player that has wide-ranging interests and influences. It feels great, looks great and sounds great. I love the whole back story as well how it's a direct descendant of the swee'tone jazz'r (an amazing but unusual Jackson guitar in it's own right), how Mark Morton worked with Jackson personally to develop it just like Randy did all those years ago. Great stuff.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I changed out the buttons for Schaller lockers. Money well spent. Aside from the above-mentioned issue with the tail piece I believe the guitar is well made and will withstand serious gigging. Any guitar will show wear over time so that's just how it goes. Besides it adds character.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I was a bit surprised to find the reason for an initial intonation issue to be the tailpiece post insert coming loose from the body and lifting by about a millimeter or so. It has since been remedied and the guitar is rock solid. Holds a set up for ever. As stated before, I would prefer the new upgrades, unfinished neck and body binding, but I still consider this to be my favorite guitar.
Features — 8
Mine is a first-gen river bed model. I love it but would prefer the upgrades on the new models (i.e., unfinished neck, natural binding). I'm perplexed by the bridge and tail piece... Its listed as a Schaller 456 with an "anchored" tailpiece. The Schaller 456 is something entirely different with fine tuners, not a TOM copy at all. And my tail piece is not anchored. I bought this guitar when it was first made available so maybe the tailpiece thing is an early production fluke. Who knows.